There's mainly a few reasons artists, bands and labels will pay an audio engineer:

  • There's already an in-person relationship between the artists/label and engineer so it makes sense to work together
  • The engineer's name carries enough cache as to increase sales and exposure to cover the cost
  • They've heard the work of an engineer and think they're a good match for the sound they're looking for

My name doesn't carry weight outside of a few very small circles / genres. I rarely work in-person with musicians anymore and the few I do wouldn't be reading this FAQ, they'd contact me personally.

That said, if you have a project that's close to finished and needs some final mixing tweaks and mastering, plus you've got $150-300 to spend and trust my skills and experience, drop me a line — I work hard & communicate well to end up with results that meet or exceed your expectations.

I also do some pro bono work if it's a project that I really dig and think is important. You'd have to be doing something pretty unique and amazing but if you're confident, run it by me.

I wouldn't bother unless you think you'd like to hire me. If so, it's a good idea to go through the whole thing.

I charge by the project and don't have fixed rates but generally a final mix & mastering job starts at $150 and can run up to $300. Cost estimates are free, based on the scope of the work once you tell me where the project's at, what you want done and I hear some samples.

Personally, I'm wary of anyone charging a fixed price without an estimate since there's no incentive for them to put in extra time/work if necessary.

If you decide to drop a line, please make sure you cover those three points, esp. including some links to a couple of the tracks I'd be working on.

All work is done by signed contract, half down and half on delivery.

No. I provide (mainly) digital post-recording services like engineering, mixing and mastering, but I'm available for studio or live sound work, if interested.

No. I provide (mainly) digital post-recording services like engineering, mixing and mastering, but I'm available for studio or live sound work, if interested.

All the editing, processing, mixing and mastering is done with software on digital audio files. Since today's world is digital downloads and streaming, it's a better approach. Even in the case of physical media such as vinyl or cassettes, digital files are delivered to the manufacturer. And yes, it can sound as good or better than anything you can do with analog gear these days. I owned plenty of hardware over a 20 year period and there's not a single piece I wish I still had.

Absolutely! If you're in Portland, Oregon I recommend you check out Rob Wrong's studio, Wrong Way Recording ("for the Working Class Musician"). Rob's considered local rock royalty with over 30 years spent playing in highly-regarded bands such as Iommi Stubbs, The Skull and Witch Mountain. He's been building it over the past few years and uses a suite of software tools with a close overlap to the ones I prefer, plus a well-curated batch of hardware including a ton of mics, guitars, etc. He also does Dolby Atmos mixing.

In the last ten years, everything has gone digital — CDs always were; streaming and Bandcamp digital copies are; every vinyl pressing plant takes digital master copies only; the worst digital audio is still way better than the fidelity you need for cassettes. Digital masters also make it less expensive to have different versions. Most projects I do a streaming version for Spotify, iTunes, etc. and a specific one for vinyl, CD, cassette, etc.

Vinyl might be the only arguable case but lathe mastering has gotten sophisticated in the last 10-15 years so there's no longer a need to do a "vinyl master." Lathe engineers are just fine with CD quality audio - 44.1kHz/16 bit with a true peak ceiling below -0.3dB and a lufs (perceived listening volume) anywhere between -12 to -10dB average. The lathe cutter will apply RIAA curves (this has always been the case) and should be able to do dynamic cuts with look-ahead controllers (like the Pitch18, etc.)

Most of the lathe engineers will take higher quality audio files, usually up to 48kHz/24 bit but they'll tell you anything higher than that makes zero difference. To quote one, "I don't bother with 32 bit nor 96kHz - the file sizes are huge and the quality level improvement is non-existent when vinyl is cut. It has to be reduced to 44.1k/16 for CDs as well so in both cases the conversion to lower rates is more likely to cause issues than what quality gains you might get."